History of British Open Style

1 of 28 Laidlay: Paul Popper / Popperfoto; Nicklaus: Bob Thomas / Getty Images; Woods: Harry How / Getty Images
The British Open, with its time-honored settings and dramatic changes in weather, brings out the most versatile and elegant of golfing clothes. Woody Hochswender, Golf.com's style guru, takes you on a guided tour. From left, Johnny Laidlay, runner up in the 1893 Open, wears plus fours and tweed jacket; Jack Nicklaus tees off with a real “wood” at St. Andrews in 1978; and Tiger Woods in a windbreaker at St. Andrews in 2000.
2 of 28 Topical Press Agency / Hulton Archive
British golfer Arthur Havers, winner of the 1923 Open at Troon, epitomized the early 20th century look: tailored tweed jacket, V-neck sweater, wool cap, and necktie. Note the pinned collar and carefully arranged points on his pocket square -- a level of elegance lost in time.
3 of 28 Bob Thomas / Popperfoto
Harry Vardon, six-time winner of the Open Championship (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, and 1914) and inventor of the overlapping grip, wearing a Norfolk jacket, matching knickers, and shined leather shoes, circa 1905.
4 of 28 Kirby / Hulton Archive
American Walter Hagen at the 1924 Open in Hoylake wearing loose knickers, spectator (two-tone) shoes, and a Henley sweater with sleeves pulled up to expose his shirt cuffs.
5 of 28 Jones: Jerry Cooke / SI; Cotton: Popperfoto
The great Bobby Jones (left) in action at Hoylake in 1930 in billowy, pleated plus fours. Henry Cotton, the 1934 and 1937 Open champion, follows through in sweater and plus fours so loosely cut they almost seem like a kilt.
6 of 28 Snead: Keystone / Hulton Archive; Hogan: Central Press / Hulton Archive
Pullover sweaters or cardigans, generously cut pleated gabardine trousers, dressy shoes, and proper hats -- this was the look of mid-century professional golf. That’s Sam Snead (left) outside the clubhouse at St. Andrews during the 1946 British Open, which he won. At right, Ben Hogan pats W. J. Branch on the back as they leave the 18th green at the 1953 Open.
7 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images
Looking perfectly nonchalant, Arnold Palmer discussed a ruling with a course official at Royal Birkdale in 1961. His V-neck and soft-collared golf shirt were not a major departure from traditional golf style, but the spirit, the attitude, was. The King went on to win the championship.
8 of 28 Jerry Cooke / SI
Looking positively mythic in this Sports Illustrated photo from St. Andrews in 1960, Palmer created a unique excitement with his slashing play. There was also something dashing and different about the guy, with his rolled-up sleeves and athletic, hatless frame.
9 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images
Who is that big guy? It was 1962, the year he won his first U.S. Open. We are at Troon, Scotland … and that is a young Jack Nicklaus lining up a putt. He looks a little like Sidney Greenstreet on holiday. He tied for 32nd, but later went on to win the British Open three times.
10 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images
Gary Player on the tee at St. Andrews in 1964. The South African favored close-fitting, all-black clothes, which was quite a modern idea at the time.
11 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images
Doug Sanders, one of modern golf’s most daring and skilled dressers, plays a shot at St. Andrews in 1970 before his final playoff with Jack Nicklaus, which he lost. Note the tartan trouser stripe, which matches the V-neck detail on his sweater.
12 of 28 Walter Iooss Jr. / SI; Popperfoto (2); Tony Triolo / SI
With his longish blonde hair and bulky turtlenecks, Nicklaus really was like a Golden Bear, not so much cuddly as powerful. From left, Nicklaus in a Walter Iooss SI photo at St. Andrews, 1978, wearing a bright sunflower turtleneck; in 1970, at the Old Course, chipping onto the green; and again in 1970, this time in a cardigan and a turtleneck; and, finally, unleashing a drive in the rain at Muirfield in 1972.
13 of 28 Steve Powell / Getty Images
This is one of those iconic Nicklaus photos that everyone remembers, swinging a wood in that vivid blue argyle sweater on the way to winning the 1978 Open at St. Andrews with a score of 281.
14 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images
Lee Trevino, a hustling club pro from El Paso, Texas, had plenty of style and flair on the course, especially his boot-cut plaid trousers. He won the British Open twice, in 1971 and 1972. Here he is at Royal Troon in 1973.
15 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images; Popperfoto; Keystone / Hulton Archive
Johnny Miller these days sets the standard for golf commentary on television. As a golfer, he also was a a style setter, reflecting the post-sixties hip look of the era. At Troon in 1973, (middle) we see him in tight-fitting, flare-bottomed plaid golf pants with a turtleneck. Or (right) a paisley, short-sleeve shirt worn under a cable-knit sweater vest. At left, check out the golf shirt’s wide collar, a fashion touchstone of the times, worn outside the sweater, of course.
16 of 28 Lane Stewart / SI; David Cannon / Getty Images
Tom Watson at the 1977 Open in Turnberry, Scotland (left), wore the plaid flared trousers, white golf shoes with tassels, and floppy shirt collar popular in the seventies. He’s got the white belt, too, a style that is back today with a vengeance. Watson has won the Open five times. In 2009, his look was much more sedate, befitting his 59 years, when he nearly took a sixth claret jug at Turnberry.
17 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images; David Cannon / Getty Images
Greg Norman had long hair and the flare-leg ’70s look going when he played in the Open at Muirfield in 1980. He won it in 1986, at Turnberry, in the sort of graphic patterned knitwear that his own apparel company is known for.
18 of 28 Bob Thomas / Getty Images; David Cannon / Getty Images
The late Payne Stewart was a kind of throwback to the early days of the Royal and Ancient, wearing custom tailored knickerbockers in traditional tartan patterns (left). He never won the British, but tied for second in 1990, when he wore an American-themed traditional outfit.
19 of 28 Stephen Munday / Getty Images
David Feherty, now known for his tart golf commentary, once wore tomato-colored trousers at the Old Course for the 1995 Open. He’d probably prefer not to remember.
20 of 28 Stephen Munday / Getty Images
John Daly, known for his long drives and non-country club bearing, won the 1995 Open at St. Andrews, most likely the only golfer to do so wearing a mullet.
21 of 28 Daly: Ian Walton / R&A; Ballesteros: David Cannon / Getty Images; Mickelson: Bob Thomas / Getty Images
The wet and windy weather at the Open often brings out an odd assortment of hats. Here, Daly in 2011 wears an orange wool cap; Seve Ballesteros dons two hats at Royal Birkdale in 1991; and Phil Mickelson puts on a pom-pommed ski hat with what looks like a snow suit at the same championship in 1991.
22 of 28 J.D. Cuban / Getty Images; Fred Vuich / SI
Tiger Woods played the 1995 Open as an amateur (left), introducing his new-age athleticism to the Old Course at St. Andrews. He has won the British three times, including 2005 at St. Andrews, where he wore mock turtlenecks and other performance apparel.
23 of 28 Woods: Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images; Duval: Andrew Redington / Getty Images
Both Woods and David Duval, another British Open winner, wear Nike clothes, which emphasize performance over traditional fashion. It’s a more minimal look.
24 of 28 Jacquelin Duvoisin / SI; Derrick Ceyrac / AFP
Despite the august atmosphere at the British Open – or perhaps because of it – some people like to wear nothing at all during the tournament. Streakers have caused an uproar on several occasions, including the 1995 Open (left) and the 1997, when a woman body-painted like a tiger tried to approach Woods. He may have been disconcerted, because Justin Leonard won.
25 of 28 Andy Lyons / Getty Images; Stuart Franklin
The British golfer Ian Poulter, contemporary golf’s reigning dandy, is at his best, sartorially, at the Open. He dressed as a rhinestone cowboy for the 2006 tournament at Hoylake. Even his shoes had rhinestones.
26 of 28 Fowler: Darren Carroll / Getty Images; Garcia: Robert Beck / SI
A new generation of colorful young guns has been capturing the eye, including Rickie Fowler, here at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George’s, and Sergio Garcia, shown at Carnoustie in 2007.
27 of 28 Scott: Robert Beck / SI; Johnson: Scott Halleran / Getty Images; McIlroy: Matthew Lewis / R&A
Today’s young golfers tend to avoid the tweeds and traditions of the past, or add a twist to them, trying for a more modern approach: Adam Scott wears a Burberry diamond plaid zip sweater at the 2007 Open in Carnoustie; Dustin Johnson goes with a monochrome gray Adidas ensemble at Royal St. George’s in 2011; Rory McIlroy wears a vivid green “wet suit” style striped shirt by Oakley last year.
28 of 28 Scott Halleran / Getty Images
Last year’s winner, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, has always been a snappy on-course dresser. With a commanding lead on the final day at Royal St. George’s he went with a classic black-gray outfit, with dressy pleated pants and two-tone wingtip shoes – the sort of look that would go over well any time in the last 50 or 60 years.